Good facial animation is crucial to a character’s presence and charisma on screen. It is at the same time the most complicated part of the character to bring to life. The mobility of a face and the way we read expression is completely different to the way the body moves and is perceived. This is why we have dedicated a huge amount of Mocaplab’s time and resources to research, experimental work and projects in order to master this part of the job and to control the “Uncanny Valley” threat.
In this field, the pipeline becomes even more important. From the scanned or unscanned model, to the rigging (shapes or bones), to the retargeting and also to all the elements involved in the final image (including texture, displacement maps, framing, lighting, rendering, SSS…). This is an area where good synergy and collaboration with all involved is essential.
We started facial mocap 20 years ago at Actisystem, with French actor Richard Bohringer in the pilot of the feature film “20000 Leagues Under the Sea” (IMAGINA Research Price ,1994). While at Attitude Studio in 2001, further advancements were made and were visible on the virtual Parisian, Eve Solal. Mocaplab in its early days, back in 2007 – 2008, won a national business start-up competition and was awarded a grant by OSEO to develop the R&D and to finalise our internal facial tools. Since then, Mocaplab has produced many projects with various constraints, giving the team a clear understanding of all the issues and solutions available.